The Magic & Mundanity of Dreams Realized {Podcast Ep. 14}

I recorded this episode on location in Glastonbury, England -- on the side of Glastonbury Tor, in fact -- a place where myth and history collide. My trip to England was something of a sudden decision, and following my dream of visiting the U.K. left me soaring -- and also grappling with discomfort. 

I discuss my travels and the growth I believe I am taking away from this adventure, and hope that not only will this episode inspire you to follow your own dreams but also equip you to deal with any unexpected difficulties you come up against in your inner landscape along the way.

Subscribe to the She of the Wild podcast in iTunes, or listen to this new episode right here:

Join Our April 2018 Daily Writing Challenge

Want to work on developing your daily writing habit? Come join our free daily writing challenge, because forming new creative habits is more fun when done with a community of like-minded writers and artists.

You are invited to join our April 2018 daily writing challenge, hosted on Instagram.

Daily, use the prompt of the day to inspire and fuel your writing practice. Maybe the prompt will be a warmup, or help you through a sticky spot in your novel, or the spark for a new poem.

It doesn't matter, and whatever you choose to write is great. The point is just to write, and then keep writing, everyday.

If you'd like to join in on the communal aspect of the writing challenge on social media, be sure to tag your related posts with #sheofthewildwrites.

And if you are looking to take it a step further and do this challenge with a writing, we've got you covered there, too -- come join our free writing community on Facebook.

Are you ready? We start tomorrow, April 1st!

Kindle Deals on Good Books {March. 28, 2018 Edition}

It's like following a treasure map -- you find one great Kindle book on sale, and soon you're following the trail to a dozen more delicious books on sale for just a few dollars (or less!). Instead of just hoarding all these discounted Kindle books for myself -- which, I assure you, I still am doing -- I thought I'd also share my findings. Here are my discoveries, current as of March 28, 2018.

The Paper Magician Series by Charlie N. Holmberg

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

From the imaginative mind of debut author Charlie N. Holmberg, The Paper Magician is an extraordinary adventure both dark and whimsical that will delight readers of all ages. Grab your copy here.

This is Just My Face by Gabourey Sidibe

Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This Is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom's apartment.” 
 
Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true. Grab your copy here.

The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth LaBan

Lila Soto has a master’s degree that’s gathering dust, a work-obsessed husband, two kids, and lots of questions about how exactly she ended up here.

In their new city of Philadelphia, Lila’s husband, Sam, takes his job as a restaurant critic a little too seriously. To protect his professional credibility, he’s determined to remain anonymous. Soon his preoccupation with anonymity takes over their lives as he tries to limit the family’s contact with anyone who might have ties to the foodie world. Meanwhile, Lila craves adult conversation and some relief from the constraints of her homemaker role. With her patience wearing thin, she begins to question everything: her decision to get pregnant again, her break from her career, her marriage—even if leaving her ex-boyfriend was the right thing to do. As Sam becomes more and more fixated on keeping his identity secret, Lila begins to wonder if her own identity has completely disappeared—and what it will take to get it back. Grab your copy here.

The Designer by Marius Gabriel

1944, newly married Copper Reilly arrives in Paris soon after the liberation. While the city celebrates its freedom, she’s stuck in the prison of an unhappy marriage. When her husband commits one betrayal too many, Copper demands a separation.

Alone in Paris, she finds an unlikely new friend: an obscure, middle-aged designer from the back rooms of a decaying fashion house whose timid nature and reluctance for fame clash with the bold brilliance of his designs. His name is Christian Dior.

Realising his genius, Copper urges Dior to strike out on his own, helping to pull him away from his insecurities and towards stardom. With just a camera and a typewriter, she takes her own advice and ventures into the wild and colourful world of fashion journalism.

Soon Copper finds herself torn between two very different suitors, questioning who she is and what she truly wants. As the city rebuilds and opulence returns, can Copper make a new, love-filled life for herself? Grab your copy here.

Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz

The game is once again afoot in this thrilling mystery from the bestselling author of The House of Silk, sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate, which explores what really happened when Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty tumbled to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls.

Internationally bestselling author Anthony Horowitz’s nail-biting new novel plunges us back into the dark and complex world of detective Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty—dubbed the Napoleon of crime” by Holmes—in the aftermath of their fateful struggle at the Reichenbach Falls.

Days after the encounter at the Swiss waterfall, Pinkerton detective agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. Moriarty’s death has left an immediate, poisonous vacuum in the criminal underworld, and there is no shortage of candidates to take his place—including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.

Chase and Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones, a devoted student of Holmes’s methods of investigation and deduction originally introduced by Conan Doyle in “The Sign of Four”, must forge a path through the darkest corners of England’s capital—from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways of the London Docks—in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty’s successor.

A riveting, deeply atmospheric tale of murder and menace from one of the only writers to earn the seal of approval from Conan Doyle’s estate, Moriarty breathes life into Holmes’s dark and fascinating world. Grab your copy here.

You've Got 8 Seconds by Paul Hellman

Every day at work, people do three things: talk, listen, and pretend to listen. That’s not surprising—the average attention span has dropped to 8 seconds. To get heard, says high-stakes communications expert Paul Hellman, you need to focus your message, be slightly different, and deliver with finesse.

Through fast, fun, actionable tips, You’ve Got 8 Seconds explains what works and what doesn’t, what’s forgettable and what sticks. With stories, scripts, and examples of good and bad messages, the book reveals three main strategies.

You’ll discover practical techniques, including the Fast-Focus Method™ that the author uses with leadership teams; how to stand out in the first seconds of a presentation; and 10 actions that spell executive presence.

Whether pitching a project, giving a speech, selling a product, or just writing your next email, with You’ve Got 8 Seconds you’ll get heard, get remembered, and get results. Grab your copy here.


That's all I've got for now. Watch the blog for another list next week.

What great Kindle deals have you seen on good books? Share in the comments!

When In Doubt, Go On the Adventure

I bought the ticket on a whim, just a few weeks before departure. After dreaming of a trip to England for most of my life, I saw an opening, felt the chill of winter at the back of the wardrobe, and ran after it.

I like to know things. I like to know what is coming next. But I also cherish the unknown, the mystery of how a whole universe spins around us every day. I crave adventure.

At first, in the days after my ticket purchase, I felt like a badass. Like a woman who takes charge of her own damn destiny. But of course that quickly gave way to fear (we'll come back to that in a minute).

And then a conversation with a new friend, in which I found myself making excuses for my passions and how I haven't been pursuing them. I am made to write, I said, sipping at a pint of Porter, but there's no time.

There's always time, though. And also never time. We only have now, and in the now, we have all the time we need.

I bought the ticket because I'm thirty-five years old and if not now, when? I never believed I was immortal, but lived as if I had no end. There was always plenty of time, endless time, until, like the rest of us, I learned the hard way that that's not the case.

Life ends and begins in a moment, and if I have the time and the willingness and the dream to do a thing, a thing that brings joy and that challenges and delights and grows the self -- why am I not doing it now? Why am I waiting for tomorrow, which may never come?

I bought the ticket.

I haven't begun writing again (unless you count this post), but I feel the words calling.

I am afraid.

Afraid that the flesh and blood adventure I'm taking, the trip that has turned into something of a pilgrimage, won't stand up to the one I've dreamed of for decades. That I'll be crippled by anxiety or laid low by depression (these fears are not unfounded). Afraid that the words will come out stilted and broken, that they don't matter, that nothing matters in the end.

I am writing this from the airport, where the unknown stories of the travelers traipsing, the different skin tones, the slow dance of the planes outside both soothe and excite me.

I am here, taking the first steps of the adventure. I am writing, perhaps stilted, perhaps broken.

In the end, I will have gone on the trip and returned. I will have picked up the proverbial pen and used it. I will not have to wonder "what if," and although the fear is real, my gut says that even if this is all that these ventures give me, it will be enough.

Tell Me Your Secrets

lost woman

I sit down at the coffee shop. There are only a few long, wide tables, and all the patrons gather around them like we're family, like we know each other.

I sit across from two older women, skin wrinkled by life and joy and sorrow and sunshine, women with fire in their words and eyes and fingers. They clink mugs, talk about their book club, their loved ones

and I want to scream at them,

"How do you do it? How have you survived this world all this time, a planet whose beauty and power is raped by the rich, by those fed with silver spoonfuls of lies, by those who are never satisfied, never empathetic, never never never.

How can you fucking stand it?

How are you not in the streets in sackcloth and screams, rending your hair and burning it on the front steps of our capitals?

And I know, today's world is not unique in its ruin. There have always been dictators and hand-crafted poverty and men who relish standing on the souls of others.

But god, when I read about yesteryear, I thought if it became today I would feel stronger, more awake, that each free breath I take wouldn't be so profoundly exhausting.

So how do you do it? How do you refrain from setting the strongholds of toxic masculinity on fire? How do you smile at any man? How do you stop yourself from encasing your heart in ice seven inches thick so you don't have to feel the weight of all this ugliness?

Tell me your secrets. I wish to learn."

Join Our January 2018 Daily Writing Challenge

It's the new year, and we all have creative goals that we're planning on crushing. So let's do it together, and make it more fun!

You are invited to join our January 2018 daily writing challenge, hosted on Instagram.

Daily, use the prompt of the day to inspire and fuel your writing practice. Maybe the prompt will be a warmup, or help you through a sticky spot in your novel, or the spark for a new poem.

It doesn't matter, and whatever you choose to right is great. The point is just to write, and then keep writing, everyday.

If you'd like to join in on the communal aspect of the writing challenge on social media, be sure to tag your related posts with #sheofthewildwrites.

And if you are looking to take it a step further and do this challenge with a writing, we've got you covered there, too -- come join our free writing community on Facebook.

Are you ready? We start tomorrow!

We Need Your Art Now More Than Ever {She of the Wild: The Podcast}

Today the world is changing. It is always changing, but today more so than most other days. How do creatives cope? How do we find the energy and drive to continue making art in the face of oppression and injustice? Tune in to find out why we <em>must</em> keep creating, now more than ever before.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Subscribe to the She of the Wild podcast in iTunes, or listen right here:

Want to feel wild and free in your skin every day? Come shop our new clothing store, Wildish Wear! We offer beautiful, affordable clothing that not only feels super soft and comfortable but expresses your creative soul.

 
 
*Affiliate links used. I do not endorse products I haven't used and don't love. Thanks for supporting indie artists and authors!

Kindle Deals on Good Books {Jan. 9, 2017 Edition}

It's like following a treasure map -- you find one great Kindle book on sale, and soon you're following the trail to a dozen more delicious books on sale for just a few dollars (or less!). Instead of just hoarding all these discounted Kindle books for myself -- which, I assure you, I still am doing -- I thought I'd also share my findings. Here are my discoveries, current as of January 9, 2017.

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

It's really hard for me to pick a favorite author. But if I really, really, reallllllyyyyyy had to, it would be Neil Gaiman, hands down. His Neverwhere is my favorite fiction book of all time, and I aspire to create words and worlds of the caliber that he does. So it was a delightful surprise to find his latest collection of short fiction on sale for Kindle for just $1.99. Didn't have to think twice about that one! Get Trigger Warning here.

Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson's creative non-fiction slays me. It truly does. I never would have expected that when I first read his memoir of walking the Appalachian Trail, A Walk in the Woods, back in college, but he is hilarious. As in: laugh out loud in the middle of a coffee shop while snorting frappucino out your nose hilarious. Now his latest travel memoir, this one about his adventures in Great Britain, are available on Kindle for $1.99 Since I long to live in England with every fiber of my being, I obviously purchased this one. Get Notes From a Small Island for yourself here.

In Praise of Bees by Kristin Gleeson

Currently a bestseller on Amazon, Kristin Gleeson's novel, In Praise of Bees, takes us back to ancient Ireland. We've got memory loss, nuns fighting the patriarchy, and political turmoil. I have to be honest, historical fiction is not usually my thang, but I began reading the book preview on Amazon and couldn't stop, so I made it mine. It's just $0.99 currently -- check it out here.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

While I am not usually a huge fan of historical fiction, I am a huge, raving, jumping-up-and-down-excited fan of time travel. Particularly books in which said time travel is more subtle, instead of the #1 main focus. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken is one of these. The main character is a 17 year old violin prodigy with an unknown-to-her power that accidentally lands her back in 1776 in the middle of a sea battle (whoops). Of course in addition to time travel there is mystery and mayhem and nefarious plots. This novel is currently $0.99 for Kindle. Peruse Passenger for yourself here.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Danielle Paige's Dorothy Must Die has been on my to-read list since it came out in 2014. I don't always love the idea of retelling tried-and-true classics, but I couldn't resist this twist on The Wizard of Oz. In Paige's version, the books and film that we know and love exist and are known to the protagonist -- the other girl from Kansas who was swept to Oz by a tornado, only to find that everything is not as she expected. She finds herself in the midst of a revolution, and has to choose between the good and the wicked, the notions of which are turned on their heads. This is the first book in a trilogy and is currently on sale for $1.99. Get it here.

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

I've been following Nova Ren on Twitter for years, so was delighted to see that one of her novels, The Walls Around Us, is on sale on Kindle. This novel involves two teenage girls, one in prison and one a ballerina, plus a ghostly third party, and boats a good dose of magical realism and even a bit of horror along with its lyrical language and slowly unraveling mystery. It's currently discounted to $1.99 for Kindle. Check it out here.

That's all I've got for now. Watch the blog for another list next week.

What great Kindle deals have you seen on good books? Share in the comments!

January in America [2017 Edition]

Every day, the ways forward seem more narrow, fewer, darker. The future feels tenuous, as if the future itself is not quite sure it exists anymore.

Each day I wake, and more doors seem to be closing against me and mine and us. But we have not been locked out -- we have been locked in, and there is only so much air and so much space and too many bodies.

Every day, I look around at the people I see driving the mini-van in the next lane on the way to work, or the cashier at the supermarket, or the women who tend my children. I wonder if they believe in the suffocation of human rights, if they believe that only certain people get to be married or have healthcare or have the right to control their own bodies. I want to know and I never want to know, because I have a pretty good idea anyway, and even the specter of knowledge breaks me a little more each time I realize it again.

Each day, I gaze at my children, with their doe eyes and legs that are all of a sudden very long, and I do not know what sort of world I can promise to them. I fear that they will be the first generation in the history of our species that will have no hospitable planet to grow old on, that they will be the first generation without an inheritance of land or water or sky, and that I will not have done enough to make this impending reality otherwise.

Every day, I think about money. I think about money and think about money and think about money, and where it will come from, and if it will be enough. I think about how our parents could work any job, any job, for 40 hours a week and know that they could live on the money from that, that they could provide their families with a home and food and clothing, that there would be enough. I think about how I work three jobs, and work well past 40 hours a week, and how it is not even close to enough, not even combined, and I want to rage at those who tell me that I'm entitled to want otherwise, but I can't because I'm too fucking tired.

Each day I wake and hear of some new heresy or hypocrisy handed down from the highest seats of government, new laws that promise to reduce me from human to incubator of humans, new bills that leave thousands to die because they can't pay to be made well, new resolutions that sweat to target education and fairness and kindness and every kind of minority, that assure that least of these that they really are the least, and that by god they will pay for being the least.

And every day I know, I know, that as hard as it is right now, for all the challenges I have, I am one of the lucky ones. I am white, and I come from the middle class, and I possess a great education with no loans outstanding on it, and that is immense privilege. I know that I will be one of the last to be affected if our country sinks like a stone, and god, that's unfair, and still I can't help but be grateful that I don't have it worse. If it's so hard for someone coming into the world with a leg up, how much more devastating must it be for those born into circumstances that they did not choose, circumstances which society has unjustly decided makes them somehow worth less? Why must living beyond mere existence be nearly impossible for any person, much less so many?

The ways forward are closing before me, before us all. Can't you see it? Can't you feel it? Will you stand against the embargo of our rights, of the rights of your neighbors and countrymen and countrywomen? Will you stand for what is acceptable and be uncomfortable, or allow what is unacceptable while retaining your comfort? Will we fight and demand that fairness and empathy rule, or will we let fear and complacency render us mute and flaccid?

The ways are closing before us, and these are those that remain. What will you choose?

Here are some resources to help you resist hate and government-approved injustice and help make this a world that you want to live in:

Making Art a Part of Everyday Life is Non-Negotiable {She of the Wild: The Podcast}

We make art (whatever that kind of art is: oil painting, cooking, needlepoint, writing, music, etc.) because our souls demand it. Because the work is inside of us and begs to be made, to be released into being. Because we need it.

But we live in a world that places little value on the practice or product of creative work. So why bother with our art when it doesn't support us financially, and is seen as frivolous, unproductive, or unnecessary by the culture surrounding us?

Because we need it. Because the art needs it. Because the world needs it, even if it denies that it does. Listen for encouragement to keep on keeping on in your art, and to remember some of the benefits of practicing your art regularly.

Subscribe to the She of the Wild podcast in iTunes, or listen right here:

Book mentioned in this episode: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert*.

Quotes read in the episode, for your encouragement:

“The arts are a critical component of healthcare. Expressive art is a tool to explore, develop and practice creativity as a means to wellness.” - Wellarts Association

“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.” - John Lubbock (1834-1913), “The Pleasures of Life”

“At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise from a single source. When you are an artist, you are a healer; a wordless trust of the same mystery is the foundation of your work and its integrity.” - Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

“When artists give form to revelation, their art can advance, deepen and potentially transform the consciousness of their community.” - Alex Grey

“Arts and culture make considerable and necessary contributions to the well-being of communities. Arts and culture are powerful tools with which to engage communities in various levels of change. They are a means to public dialogue, contribute to the development of a community’s creative learning, create healthy communities capable of action, provide a powerful tool for community mobilization and activism, and help build community capacity and leadership.” - Creative City Network of Canada

“The medical profession has come a long way in recognizing the healing benefits of art. My hope is that someday the arts will be considered as significant in everyone’s lives as breathing fresh air, eating clean foods, and performing physical exercise.” - Renée Phillips

“The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.” - Auguste Rodin

Want to feel wild and free in your skin every day? Come shop our new clothing store, Wildish Wear! We offer beautiful, affordable clothing that not only feels super soft and comfortable but expresses your creative soul.

*Affiliate link. I do not endorse products I haven't used and don't love. Thanks for supporting indie artists and authors!

My 2016 Wrap-Up: Or, The Anxiety Episode {She of the Wild: The Podcast}

You knew it was coming -- this is the episode that answers your wondering, "Where the heck did you disappear to??" Basically, 2016 has been a hell of a year, due in large part to a major flaring of my anxiety. So this episode is not only about where I've been, but an off-the-cuff discussion of anxiety and mental health.

Subscribe to the She of the Wild podcast in iTunes, or listen right here (this episode has a few f-bombs in it, in case that bugs you or you're listening around little ears you'd prefer not to hear that sort of thing):

Thank you so much for listening!

Want to feel wild and free in your everyday life? Come shop our new clothing store, Wildish Wear! (Link leads to our exclusive shopping group on Facebook). 

I Don't Know How to Be Around You

I know I’m supposed to look for the good.
I know I’m supposed to be the bigger person.
I know that when they go low, we go high —

But I can’t.
Not yet.
Maybe not ever.
But certainly not yet.

I don’t know how to be around you.
I don’t know how to hear you tell me, “I love you,” or feel you embrace me, or eat food that you have generously prepared for me and not want to vomit or rage or weep.

When you do those things — good things — all I can think about is how you voted for crimes against women to become more acceptable — crimes against me.

And of course that doesn’t even touch on how you voted for race-based hate crimes, religion-based hate crimes, and sexual orientation-based hate crimes. You did those things, too. I don’t feel them as deeply because I am not the target of those crimes, but I feel empathy with those who are. I feel it, and I don’t understand how you cannot. How you choose to not.

When I look into your eyes, all I can believe is that you must hate me.

In the two weeks since the election, there have been 701 hate crimes since the election {source}. And these are just the ones reported.

Have you been listening to first-hand reports of these crimes and threats? I have, and they’re terrifying. Immigrants being told that they’re about to be deported, blacks threatened, women told they’re going to get raped now that “America’s great again.”

I don’t feel safe.
I don’t feel safe.
I don’t feel safe.

And you wanted this.
You knew he’s a rapist, a racist, a misogynist, an ableist, all the -ist’s, and still you thought a vote for him was somehow okay.

When I see you, all I can see is how you thought it was acceptable for me to live in a world where men have increased license to rape me because their leader does.

You must hate me, and your daughters, and your wife, and your granddaughters, and your mother, and your female neighbors and co-workers and friends.

You have betrayed me and millions of your fellow citizens, and we cannot not feel that cut deep, through our heart tissue straight to the soul. Don't you see the souls of millions of your countrymen and women bleeding all around you? Can't you smell the acrid iron-laced aroma of their soul's blood pooling on the ground at your feet?

And you continue say that you voted this way because you’re a single-issue voter, that you had to, that it’s just politics, that it’s okay.

No.
It is not okay.
It is not okay.
It is not okay.

You don’t get to vote for all of this, and then expect me to be okay with it. If you expect to get a pass when you vote with the KKK, then you damn well better give me time to figure out how to breathe in the same space as you.

Because I don’t know how to be around you when you voted in favor of my increased chances of being raped, assaulted, or otherwise violated because I am a woman, and a woman with an opinion.

No matter how this turns out, I can’t see how we’ll survive this, you and I. I can’t understand how to un-see your choice, how to un-know it. Today, I cannot. Maybe tomorrow, or a thousand tomorrows from now, I will. But not today.

How dare you vote for this.
How dare you ask me to be okay with this.
How dare you be hurt that I’m upset about this.
How dare you say that you love me.

How dare you.

Words are Like Water

Words are like water, washing

and washing us with their truth --

or otherwise drowning

us if we won't allow it, healing turned

to windswept tumult to get our

ever-wandering attention. They are

everywhere, reach everywhere, patient

enough to hollow out caverns

in the deep, strong enough to 

tumble down the thin and ruinous

beliefs we clutch the closest. In

time, with ruthless endurance,

everything they touch transforms.

 

"A story is like water / that you heat for your bath. / It takes messages between the fire / and your skin. It lets them meet, / and it cleans you! / . . . Water, stories, the body, / all the things we do, are mediums / that hide and show what's hidden. / Study them, / and enjoy this being washed / with a secret we sometimes know, / and then not."

- from The Essential Rumi

 

* This post contains an affiliate link. I only endorse products I truly love. Thank you for support indie authors + artists!

The Altars I Didn't Mean to Leave Behind

I couldn't tell you how many times I sat in this cafe, books and headphones and words strewn across its population of worn tables. How many times have I taken refuge within these brick walls, been nourished by the scent of baking pies blossoming from the kitchen, sipping coffee and writing and writing and writing?

I couldn't count. I couldn't possibly.

I've lived in this mountain-circled valley for, god, over ten years now. I was not born here, did not grow here. How can I be old enough to have ten years in any new place?

I am old enough (oh god) and I have passed so much time in this coffee shop, lived much. I even worked here for a time, slinging espresso not very confidently. I even hung my art here for a time. How this place has held me.

And after all this time, all this life spent here, held here, it has become something of a an involuntary, everyday altar that I didn't mean to leave but left nonetheless. A measuring stick, a marker stone against which I can press my soul and feel all the past iterations of myself and know with the deep knowing just how very far I've come.

When I come here, I can't help but remember.

When I come here, I can't help but feel grateful.

When I come here, I can't help but feel a bit sad over the passing of time even while I am so, so glad to be more healthy and more whole than I was before, than I have perhaps ever been.

I come to this cafe, and sip its coffee and nibble on pie, and I breathe in, wide and deep, and know, and am, and am glad.

  Me, 9 years ago.

Me, 9 years ago.

This Isn't Right, I'm Not Right [Yet]

I am in tears as I sit here before the blank screen, trying to figure out how to say what I need to say.

This isn't right.

This. She of the Wild. This work.

It is good work, this I know. It is honest and needed and I believe in it. I will keep doing it for these reasons.

But it isn't quite right, not quite in alignment with The Thing that's inside me and wants to, needs to get out, be born, be in the world, be there for you if you choose it, if it chooses you.

And god, that is hard to admit, because I've worked so hard and so long and have tried to believe, have kept showing up, and for all that, for all my own personal soul-growth, it's still not right (dammit).

And then I realize -- it's not just She of the Wild that isn't yet fine-tuned. It's me, too. My life. My whole life.

For those of you who've been with my along the way, or part of it, you know that it's been a journey. I started a numb girl child in the body of a young woman, and through the initiation of an eating disorder and then the anguish and grieving of my daughter's stillbirth and then the necessary burning of my religiosity, I've grown. God, I've grown. I wouldn't have chosen that path if I'd been given a choice, but since I found my feet on that road, I'm grateful for what it's given me.

And to now come to this moment and realize that there is still so much work to be done, still so much growing? Well. It's frustrating. But mostly it's exhausting.

And I'm right in the thick of it. Or (oh god) maybe just the beginning. Regardless, I find myself in another dark night. And here I thought I was done with all that [insert dry divine laughter here].

The spiral of descent (or is it ascent? I can't even tell anymore) that I am currently winding around has to do, I think, with my own strength. How I've never really learned to stand on my own two feet in the world. How I don't believe I'm worth getting paid a living wage for whatever work I happen to be doing. How I never learned to be my own beloved, my own true love, my own twin flame/soul mate/best friend/truest companion.

I came to this realization yesterday. And, later in the day, still cradling this bleak epiphany tenderly, I happened to lock eyes with mySelf in a mirror, and nearly crumbled at the sensation of being met by my Self. Of being on my own side, perhaps for the first time ever. Of being happy, content, fulfilled alone.

I didn't think it was possible.

I didn't think I was capable.

But in that moment, I believed. In that moment, I met myself with love and power and it rocked me and changed my mind.

I don't know where this is going. I don't know what will become of me. And god knows I really don't fancy another descent into the dark night.

But I know that this is good work. I know this is needed. For She of the Wild, sure, but first mySelf.

Will you walk with me, will you wait with me?

Don't Give Up. Keep Going.

It's okay to feel like an absolute and total mess, like you don't know what to want or what you want. It's okay to want to sleep all day for a while. It's okay to be where you're at.

What's not okay is to deny where you are and how you are. To not look at the things that need to be looked at or not feel the things that need to be felt (this is [part of] what got you into trouble before).

Your task now is to feel and to mourn, and to let that process grow and illuminate yourSelf. To see where this road leads. To love yourSelf more fully, with more abandon.

You will survive. (Yes -- you will.) Stop asking how -- the how is not important. The showing up whole and wholly imperfect and authentic is what's important.

Trust. Trust. Keep going. Don't give up. Serve the world. serve the world your very best. The world needs all the golden soul good that you (we) can offer. So keep going. Don't give up.

Keep going.

SHE Zine #4 is Here!

SHE Zine Issue #4 is now available, both as a monthly subscription and as individual copies (if you are already a subscriber, your copy is already in the mail, and probably arrived if you're in the U.S. -- huzzah!).

Here are some peeks inside this issue:

Ready to nab your own? Head over here. Or if you already have yours, use the tag #SHEzine when sharing related photos/thoughts/quotes/etc. on Instagram and your other favorite social media platforms.

Instructions for Living

Breathe deep. Smell all the scents around you. Taste them. Savor them. They are evidence that you are alive and there is beauty in this world yet.

Read. And then read more. Devour words like the sustenance they are. Then put down your books and live your own story in vivid color and with all the courage you can muster.

Drink deep of life. Embrace its experiences. Embrace the ones you love. Embrace strangers (with their permission).

Be willing to be amazed. This takes a certain kind of vulnerability, of trust. Go there. Allow wonder. Enjoy it.

Participate in your own life. Do not be a spectator, a bystander. The days are passing. Live them all, all of what each one has to offer, no matter what it holds. Feel it all, turn it into gold. Share your wealth with the world. We need it. We need you.

And love, for god's sake. Love. Love in all the ways you can: with empathy, in friendship and sisterhood, in nurturing, in mothering.

Let others love you, too. This is harder. But will you let them love you? Care for you? Want you? This is not the same as wanting something from you. It is instead a wanting that can fill you =, if you allow it. Will you allow it?

The days are passing, and there is so much to feel and wonder at, so much and so many to hold and be held by.

The days are passing. Will you live them?

I Want to Write a Poem Just for You

The idea first came as one of showing up in process. A table at our local weekly summer crafts market, selling art and custom poems hand-typed on the spot on a vintage typewriter. A chance happening for market shoppers to be deeply, magically met on their Saturday morning meanderings.

And then I thought -- why not offer this to my online community? Because I believe it will be even more beautifully received when offered right to you, my moon-loving, word-scribbling, intuition-diving fellow humans.

Basically, I want to write a poem for you -- just for you.

A custom, one-of-a-kind, intimate, intuitive gift of love and support from you to you (with me as the middle woman).

➳ So here's how it works: in the "notes to seller" section, share with me a few words/themes/ideas/images that you'd like me to incorporate into a poem for you. Or, if you'd like even more of an adventure, you don't have to share anything with me, but simply trust my intuition and God/fate/[insert your favorite divine guiding principle here] to write the words you need to hear.

➳ You'll received your poem typed via a vintage typewriter on 8.5 x 11" (letter size) paper 100% cotton paper in your choice of ivory or white. Poems are guaranteed to be at least 10 lines long, but may be far longer, depending on your prompts and where the poem takes us.

I can also create a custom poem as a gift for a loved one. In fact, these make deeply powerful and personal presents.

Poems normally take 1-2 weeks to write, and then will be shipped First Class (arrives within 5 days). For speedier shipping, check out the Priority (arrives in 2-3 days) and Express (arrives in 24-48 hours) shipping upgrades. All packages come with tracking numbers.

To view a free sample of Night Cycles, my poetry collection, and get a sense of my writing, please head over HERE.

☽ It would truly be my honor to craft a poem for you and yours! ☾

You in? Order yours HERE!

Self-Portraits, Curiosity, & Blending: An Interview with Ariane Machin of the Conscious Coaching Collective {She of the Wild: The Podcast}

I am so pleased to share this interview with my friend, entrepreneur, therapist, mom, and coaching guru extraordinaire, Ariane Machin. In our fun conversation, we touch on topics ranging from taking selfies as an authentic practice of self-discovery, curiosity as an effective + low-stress way of inviting yourself into new experiences, and how to perfectly balance it all (or not).

Subscribe in iTunes, or listen right here:

Want to see the selfie we took mid-podcast because we really do love selfies? Here you go:

  Meet Ariane!

Meet Ariane!

You can connect with Ariane on her website and at the Conscious Coaching Collective.

Are you looking for one-on-one support in following your curiosity and getting into the heart of your creativity? I can help! Sign up for a free 20 minute consultation Soul Coaching call with me and let's explore how we can work together to help you find + be the most authentic and alive version of yourself.

Got creative community? Come hang out with us in the She of the Wild Facebook community, where you can get exclusive access to the video version of this interview, in all its unedited glory.